“But if you go from Moscow to Budapest you think you are in Paris.”
– Gyorgy Ligeti
Budapest is a capital where you can freely indulge in Michelin-star restaurants, simply because you can. Think 3-course meals for 15€.
This Hungarian capital is characteristically intersected by the Danube river, forming the two sides – Buda and Pest.
If you’re looking for an itinerary in Budapest and things to do in Budapest, this post will answer all your questions.
Speaking of food, there is a whole range of food you can find in Budapest, from Michelin-star restaurants to local street food, hipster cafes and grungy pubs. Read on to find the best Hungarian restaurants in Budapest!
Recommended number of days in Budapest: 4 days
- Getting around Budapest, Hungary
- What to Eat in Budapest – Pest
- What to Eat in Budapest – Buda
- What to Eat in between Buda and Pest…
- 1. Eat: Kürtös Kalács, a typical Hungarian pastry
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Getting around Budapest, Hungary
For a fuss-free way to plot your route, use Google Maps. I share step-by-step instructions on how to do that here.
Much of Budapest is accessible by foot. I don’t remember taking public transport much at all.
What to Eat in Budapest – Pest
1. Eat: Gelarto Rosa
Any fun-loving, sugar-seeking individual would know of this ice cream shop selling ice cream by the flower! They come in a wide assortment of flavours and colours, so have fun playing with the colours and tastes!
2. Drink: Szimpla Kert ruin pub
Szimpla Kert translates to Simple Garden. But boy oh boy, this pub is nowhere near simple.
The beautiful mess of this pub in the heart of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter is a tangle of old and new.
Simply put, it is a place for release through art (and of course, alcohol). The two-storey pub has something to offer at every corner.
Funky is one word to describe them. If everything else in your itinerary fails, this pub is a MUST GO!
3. Eat: Langos, a classic Hungarian snack
Langos is Hungary’s favoured street food in Budapest to indulge. It is a deep-fried dough that comes with your topping of choice. Langos done right should taste crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside.
Standard toppings include garlic butter, sour cream, or shredded cheese.
While I wouldn’t call it the best food in Budapest, it is a local snack that should be experienced when you step foot in Hungary.
I found this outdoor container food place, Karavan, just by Szimpla Kert frequented by many locals, so I thought I shouldn’t miss out on this convivial atmosphere. If you want to have a taste of Budapest’s street food, then Karaván is a cute spot featuring street food such as vegan snack, fried cheese and sausages, on top of langos.
For a low-down of some of the best Langos in Budapest, check out We Love Budapest’s article here.
4. Eat: Gerbeaud Café
One of the most famous cafes in Budapest, this traditional establishment has its roots from 1858. Bold curtains drape floor-to-ceiling windows as you sip your high tea and pastries under chandeliers.
Two highly recommended inventions are Konyakos Meggy – sour cherry, matured in cognac and covered with dark chocolate – and Zserbó Szelet – layers of sweet yeast cake, jam and ground walnuts topped with chocolate glaze.
While its price is befitting of the exquisiteness of the cafe, I felt their service could be improved on.
5. Eat: Cyrano
Located in the heart of Budapest (exact location here), enjoy a 3-course meal for 14€.
This upmarket restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Budapest to visit.
It offers indoor or alfresco dining in their two-storey premise. Even as the portion sizes are debatable, the ambience is equally enjoyed as a group as it is on your own. In my case, I came alone, and was impressed by the meticulousness that came with the presentation of their dishes.
6. Eat: Onyx
Gourmet food with absolute finesse.
Located within walking distance from Cyrano, some of their highlights include the water buffalo tartar, goose liver and the venison. Hell, even their bread selection is a draw. Pampered yourself with unlimited flow of free amuse-bouches (single bite-sized appetitzers) in between the dishes throughout the meal.
Directions: Take the subway to Vörösmarty tér and you'll be thrown into the throes of the city centre. Onyx, Cyrano and Hard Rock Cafe are all within walking distance from here.
7. Eat: Great Market Hall
This is the first place to be if you’re looking for where to eat in Budapest.
This market hall is a hall where traders come together to sell grocery produce and souvenirs.
The largest and oldest of its own, the indoor hall sells local fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salamis, pickles, fresh fish, classic Hungarian paprika, Tokaj wines, and even local meals and snacks like Langos.
8. Eat: Zeller Bistro
This family-run restaurant welcomes their customers with a champagne drink.
If that is not enough to win you over, their stellar service is bound to. Try their Pork Tenderloin or Beef Tartare, guaranteed to make you swoon.
Located right in the middle of Szechenyi Thermal Bath and the Hungarian State Opera (exact location here), it’s one of the best places to eat in Budapest, apart from how convenient it is after a morning of soaking in the baths, before you embark on your next leg of your journey.
9. Eat: Goulash
Nothing represents Budapest food best other than their national dish, goulash (gulyás), so be sure to complete your Budapest experience with a piping hot pot of this slow-cooked beef stew.
A bowl of Goulash usually comes with a good ratio of slow-cooked beef and vegetable, with paprika to top off the broth. The traditional Hungarian goulash exists as a soup, but these days you can also find goulash that comes in stew form, with added sauerkraut and a thicker sauce.
Bestia is one restaurant that prides itself on its meat-centric menu and traditional Hungarian food. Located right by St. Stephen’s Basilica, it’s a convenient rest stop in between discovering the city. There has been reviews that they serve one of the best goulash in Budapest.
10. Eat: Kispiac Bisztro
This small, family-run restaurant has been voted by many, both locals and tourists, to serve one of the best Hungarian restaurants in Budapest.
Some of their top highlights were their sour cherry soup (a refreshing summer entrée), wild boar spare ribs goulash (for a melt-in-your-mouth experience with the meat), tasteful roasted duck liver and their lamb.
You traditional Hungarian cuisine with a visit to Kispiac Bisztro. 😉
What to Eat in Budapest – Buda
1. Eat: Tanti
This Hungarian bistro was the first to be awarded a Michelin star in Buda in 2015 (exact location here).
You can expect to leave the bistro only short of 15€ for fine-tasting, quality food.
Word of advice: As one of the best Michelin star restaurants in Budapest, reserve your seats in advance or risk being turned away.
Directions: Situated in an upmarket shopping mall, take Bus 105 and get off at the terminal stop.
2. Ruszwurm Confectionery
Dobos torta is another one of those Hungarian inventions. A sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel, it’s an absolute favourite for the sweet tooth.
Highly voted for its traditional Hungarian Dobos torta, Ruszwurm Confectionery is one where you can indulge in this Hungarian pastry.
What to Eat in between Buda and Pest…
1. Eat: Kürtös Kalács, a typical Hungarian pastry
This is a cylindrical-shaped sweet-tasting pastry. A stripe of soft dough is rolled around a wooden rod and baked over coals. The brown pastry is then rolled in sugar, cinnamon, ground walnut, almonds or cocoa.
This common Budapest street food can be found in most market halls or outdoor food fairs.
So there, this is THE list of Budapest attractions for every first-timer, without missing any of the glitz and glamour Budapest has to offer, nor the history and viewpoints of the capital.
Have you been to Budapest? What’s your favourite part about it? 🙂